The extra virgin olive oil of Del Cetino is produced in Bollullos par del Condado, a village in the Southwest of Spain.
Bollullos is situated in the center of the ‘El Condado’, a region that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sierra of Aracena in the North.
Del Cetino literally means ‘from the El Cetino’, and El Cetino points to a well-defined place in the light rolling landscape north of the village.
It is also nice to know that El Cetino is closely related to the old Andalusian word ‘El Cetrino’, which means: “olive like,” “olive green”.
The estate ‘Del Cetino’ covers 10 ha.
It borders on a natural park with cork oaks bordering the moorland that features the Condado region.
Currently, 1700 olive trees are planted.
The typical Andalusian Picual and Verdial varieties, and the wonderful Arbequina are in commercial production. In addition, there is a limited presence of Gordales, Manzanilla and Zorzaleña.
These last varieties are not yet commercialized.
The Right Picking Moment
In Southern Spain, olives start ripening at the end of September and can be picked through December.
The later they are picked, the higher the yield. On the other hand, early-picked olives are far more fruity, with a lot of fresh herbal and grassy flavors.
The ripening process depends on the variety.
The correct picking moment must be determined with care when striving for a beautiful, fragrant and fresh oil.
The Picking Process
During the picking, it is of the utmost importance to avoid damaging the olives and to bring them as fresh as possible to the mill.
For a small producer this is a real challenge.
We cannot use expensive picking machines or hire dozens of pickers.
Being creative is thus required when the production of quality oil is the goal.
The traditional harvesting method uses long sticks to strike the branches, causing the olives to fall into nets stretched out beneath the tree.
Once a tree is finished, the full nets are dragged to the next tree. However, in doing so, many olives would be damaged.
We have designed a manual picking machine: the ‘Del Cestino’.
It consists of a large reversed umbrella placed under the olive tree. Small branch vibrators shake the olives off the tree, which then pass through an opening into a fruit box.
As such, the olives no longer fall on the ground and are no longer polluted or damaged.
The period between picking and actual pressing is extremely important for ensuring a good quality.
That is why we have built a cold room on the property. Cooling at 5 °C protects the olives optimally against fermentation processes.
To provide optimum protection from fermentation, we have built a cold-room in which we store the olives at 5° C. This also allow us to pause picking in case of rain without any loss of quality to the already picked olives.
The impact of the ‘Cestino’ and our system of conservation is currently being studied at the Universities of Cordoba and Seville.
The first results confirm that both the quality of the olives and the pressed oil remains as high as possible.
The ‘Del Cetino’ oil is produced in the experimental mill of the ‘Instituto de la Grasa’ in Seville.
In this world-renowned center, more than one hundred researchers perform fundamental research and groundbreaking work in the field of quality control and improvement of olive oil.
It is a privilege for us to be under the supervision of Dr. Fernando Martinez Román to produce our oil.
The experimental mill has multiple processing lines with state of the art equipment. This is essential to produce a top quality oil, full of natural aromas and micro nutrients, along with extremely low acidity.
When our olives arrive in the morning they are processed immediately.
First and foremost the picked leaves and branches are removed and the olives are washed.
Then, they are ground and slowly ‘moved’ in a malaxer. During this process, the microscopically small oil particles are brought together into larger drops.
The actual extraction occurs immediately afterwards in a very fast turning drum (decanter) where the oil is separated from the pulp and water.
In the second phase, the oil is further purified by water and residual organic material by means of a vertical centrifuge.
Next, the quasi-pure oil goes directly into a container. In the afternoon, our oil is ready and we can take it home!
Despite the impressive machinery, chemical substances are never used in the whole process.
Technique, knowledge, hygiene and purity have supplanted the fake romantic old percussion techniques forever and for the better!
The Cold Pressing
The entire process takes place at low temperature, not above 27 °C.
This process is known as ‘cold pressing’.
This aspect is very important.
By heating the olive mass, one can achieve a higher oil yield, but it has a negative influence on the flavor and odor characteristics of the oil.
We guarantee a cold pressing. The whole pressing process is controlled by a multitude of sensors and a high-end computer system.
Our choice is clear: maximum taste and aromatic quality is our main goal, so cold pressure is a must.
The knowledge of the ‘Maestro’ is essential in this process. He determines the ideal temperature and duration during the various phases of the production process, taking into account the type of olives, their maturity and what the producer wants in terms of yield and taste characteristics.
Before bottling, the oil is filtered.
This is necessary to remove the final impurities from the oil. Not doing this raises the chances that the oil will become rancid after a few months. Despite all the romance that is offered about ‘unfiltered’, nature is indomitable here.
The filtering is done on the domain. After a day of rest, the oil is filtered through a cellulose filter and stored. We are ready to bottle!
Bottling and labeling are done with simple but genius machines, designed for the small producer who wants to guarantee the best quality.
The only thing left is placing them in boxes and we’re done with it. Lots of flavor and cooking pleasure!
Good oil should be stored well so keep in mind one golden rule: Avoid light and air.
Both factors negatively affect the quality and taste of oil.
Therefore, the Del Cetino oil comes in elegant bottles of dark glass (25 and 50 cl) or in a 3 l baginbox. Both ensure that the oil is not exposed to light.
Well preserved olive oil retains its taste for more than a year but then the taste is irreversibly reduced.
Do not let it go. Enjoy it !
The people of Del Cetino
Eddy and Christa
Eddy’s anthropological research brought us to this region of Andalusia.
Recently, we have decided to fully commit ourselves to the production of Del Cetino olive oil.
Small scale, superior quality and ecological awareness determine our choice of products and techniques.
Antonio ‘Periko’, Antonio ‘Reales’,
A plantation of olive trees requires attention throughout the year.
The maintenance of the soil, pruning the trees, the control and treatment of diseases, are just a few examples of this.
All this must be done with knowledge.
‘Periko’ and Antonio are involved in planting, seasonal maintenance, and the picking. Rosado and Amauro join us during picking.
BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND THE SEA
In Bollullos par del Condado, in the south west of Spain, between the mountains and the sea, Del Cetino's olives grow in a small area of 10 ha. It is bordered by a natural park and a vast grassland that is typical for this region.
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